Self-employment has it’s perks.
I get to watch television or listen to really loud music while I have lunch. Which I can do in pajamas with no complaints. Plus, I can keep the temperature as warm as I like.
But little joys can easily become devices of perpetual distraction and procrastination if I’m not careful.
Because no one can tell me not to take hundreds of social media quizzes.
Amazon shopping is just a mouse click away.
The store is right down the street and we “need” stuff.
There’s no boss checking in to make sure I’m doing my job.
There are some days when I find that challenge refreshing.
On the other hand, some days I find it tough to even turn on the light in my office let alone go in there and work.
This is my list of 11 ways I give productivity a boost when working from home. These things work for me, I urge you to adapt it to meet your own unique needs!
1. Abandon my phone. If I can’t just reach out to grab it then I won’t know about notifications. Therefore, I won’t waste time checking them.
2. Eat breakfast. On the mornings when I eat something nutritious, I feel my energy go up and my mind more open to solving problems once I sit down at my desk. They don’t call it the most important meal of the day for nothing! I also never skip lunch or snacks.
3. Surround myself with inspiration. I’m a sports nut so my office is filled with the posters and other memorabilia of the people who made it to the top. I remind myself that they got there by working hard, being dedicated, and having the ability to shake off a loss (but also to celebrate a win).
4. Stopped multitasking. For years I was in corporate. The first thing a hiring manager wanted to see on your resume was the word multitasking. Being self-employed I’ve discovered that word is code for “half-ass everything.” Instead of trying to do it all at once, I do one thing well before moving onto the next item on the agenda.
5. Take breaks. I leave my computer occasionally just to keep my head from exploding. During my short breaks (15 minutes or less and I time them) I generally play a video game or check personal accounts. I feel like I did something completely non-productive, satisfy that itch for procrastination, and then come back ready to work.
6. Write it down. I’ll suddenly remember we need milk. Or the water bill is due. Or I forgot to put outgoing mail in the box. I keep a notebook and pen next to me during the day so when all those little creeping distractions rear their heads I just write them down so I don’t forget them later. (That water bill is on time whether I pay it a 10 AM or 5 PM!)
7. Use an editorial calendar. Kate set us up with a fantastic shared spreadsheet that details exactly what needs doing and what day it needs to be completed. It’s a handy reference guide and I use it to stay on track.
8. Use a physical calendar too. I love our digital calendar but it doesn’t get down to specifics of what I have to do to accomplish tasks on a daily basis. And I love checking things off – makes me feel accomplished! So I use a whiteboard calendar too. Plus it’s cool to see everything checked off at the end of the month and then I get to wipe the slate clean when every new month begins. Literally and figuratively.
9. Enjoy my down time. As easy as it is to procrastinate an entire day away, it can be just as tempting to keep working yourself to death. When I shut the office door at night, I’m done. No work emails on my phone. No laptop in the living room. Things can wait 12 hours for when I’m refreshed. No one can work for 24 / 7 and expect to survive!
10. Schedule smart. I’d love to believe that I could write three 1,000 word blog posts and 4,500 words of my next book on a daily basis. But that thought is a unicorn – beautiful, but unrealistic. Trying to cram in as much as I can on a calendar only leaves me with tons undone and frustration at the day’s end. I keep my daily schedule managed in 2 hour chunks per task. If they don’t get done then I finish before moving on.
11. Forgive the times when I ditch. As a teenager I was an advocate for occasionally skipping school. Now, as an adult with my own business, I find that ditching work is very much the same thing for me. I do it when I need to. Because, despite all my efforts to write every day, there are going to be days when my brain needs a full day off in addition to the weekend. I allow these momentary lapses because I know my mind will clear and my work will be better for it the very next day.
In the self-employment arena the only one responsible for you is you so I hope these tips can help you develop your own plan for productivity and career advancement!
Speaking of tips…
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